The Nokta magazine, shuttered in April 2016 published a story titled “Semih: The Tayyip-like figure on Survivor Island”, and in response, the participant of the TV show in question, Semih Öztürk filed a complaint with Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against Perihan Mağden and the news web site T24 which republished the said story. An investigation was launched upon this complaint by Öztürk, who claimed that Perihan Mağden insulted him and the President.
In this scope, the prosecutor’s office took the statement of Perihan Mağden. Mağden indicated in her statement at the prosecutor’s office that she had criticized Semih Öztürk, a competitor at the television show Survivor Island, for his unusual behavior, and had pointed to some similarities between Öztürk and the President. She stated that the article was not about the President, and that there was no complaint filed by the lawyers of the President. She cited jurisprudence by ECHR underlining that criticism can sometimes be severe, shocking and offensive.
T24’s editor-in-chief İnan Ketenciler also gave a statement within the scope of the investigation, indicating that the article was not penned by T24, and that they had only republished it from Nokta magazine. He pleaded not guilty for the charges in question.
The prosecutor indicated in the indictment that during the investigation he could not reach the original of the piece in question, since Nokta magazine was shut down under the state of emergency by a Decree Law, and their web site was barred from access.
In the indictment completed by the Public Prosecutor Yasemin Baba on June 6, 2017, it was claimed that Perihan Mağden had committed an offense, going beyond the limits of criticism. Prosecutor Baba also argued that republishing the same article on the website T24 was a repetition of the same offense. Baba had received the consent of the minister, which was necessary for pressing charges of insulting the President, and requested that the suspects be tried and sentenced.
The first hearing of the case was held on November 2, 2017, upon the acceptance of the indictment by 2. Criminal Court of First Instance. İnan Ketenciler attended the first hearing as defendant and requested additional time, stating that he wanted to hire a lawyer to defend him at court. The judge asked Ketenciler about his statements during investigation, and his objection against the petition of the lawyer, who wanted to intervene in the case on behalf of President Erdoğan. The court decided to accept the involvement of President Erdoğan’s lawyer in the trial.
At the fourth hearing of the case held on November 22, 2018, an arrest warrant in absentia was issued for Perihan Mağden, since she did not attend the hearings and did not gave her statement. Mağden attended the fifth hearing of the case on January 10, 2019 and presented her defense. She explained that in her article in question she focused on Semih Öztürk, who had become the most controversial participant due to his behavior in the highly popular TV show “Survivor Island”. She stated that in her article she established similarities between Semih Öztürk and the President, and explained that Öztürk with his highly criticized behavior tried to capitalize on the popularity of the President. Mağden underlined that as a columnist such a criticism was her right and a part of her profession. Mağden indicated in that her article was not about the President but Semih Öztürk, that she had no intention of insulting anyone, and refused the charges.
In the sixth hearing held on February 21, 2019, Halil Kocabaş, the lawyer of İnan Ketenciler requested additional time for the defense against the accusations.
Mağden, Ketenciler - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası Download
Mağden, Ketenciler - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası (İddianame)
In September 2015, the magazine Nokta was banned and pulled off the shelves for its cover that read “Erdoğan-Style Selfie”. Perihan Mağden, a contributor to the said magazine gave an interview on September 14, 2015 to journalist Tunca İlker Öğreten from the news web site diken.com.tr, stating that “President Erdoğan acts like a wild tiger that has been cornered”.
Due to this metaphor used in the interview, the writer Perihan Mağden, journalist Tunca İlker Ögreten who conducted the interview, and Orhan Şahin and Mehmet Çağlar Tekin executives of the Yurt newspaper which published the interview, were all charged with “insulting the President”.
At the final hearing of the trial held at Istanbul 2. Criminal Court of First Instance on January 10, 2019, Mağden and Öğreten were each fined 7 thousand TL on charges of “insulting the President”. The court did not postpone the fines for Öğreten and Mağden, but acquitted Şahin and Tekin of the charges.
Mağden, Öğreten - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası (İddianame)
A curfew was declared when Mazlum Dolan, a reporter with the Dicle News Agency that would later be shuttered after the July 15 coup attempt by a Decree Law dated October 29, 2016, was following a news story in the Sur district of Diyarbakır. For 79 days, Dolan was trapped in an apartment in the district, but continued to report. A military operation was launched with the onset of the curfew, and Dolan announced that he was trapped in a building and that they had taken refuge in the basement due to the ongoing military operation.
In reaction, professional associations of journalists made efforts to evacuate Dolan, however, it was in vain. Dolan’s lawyers applied to the European Court of Human Rights on February 17, 2016, to impose a temporary suspension of the curfew.
On February 19, 2016, journalists including some who participated in the News Watch, wanted to march to the town of Sur for Mazlum Dolan. The rally was stopped by the police. Dolan was evacuated on the evening of the same day along with five civilians, accompanied by military personnel.
After being evacuated from the district, Dolan was taken to Diyarbakır Police Department’s Anti-Terror Branch. He was detained there for five days. Following police procedures, he was referred on February 23 to 1. Criminal Court of Peace, which issued a warrant for the arrest of Dolan and four others.
The grounds for the arrest warrant were denunciations, statements by secret and known witnesses, and gunpowder traces on their clothes -despite the fact that they had just left the district of Sur, which was under heavy bombardment.
The indictment against Dolan and 39 people was drafted by prosecutor Mustakim Türkyılmaz in July 2016, and submitted to the court.
In the indictment, 20 people including journalist Mazlum Dolan were charged with “membership of a terrorist organization”, “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” and “violating the law on meetings and demonstrations“. A prison sentence of 7.5 to 15 years was requested for Dolan on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization”.
“Aggravated life sentence” was requested for 20 other defendants for “attempting to break the unity and integrity of the Turkish state”.
The first 28 pages of the indictment dwelled upon the history and foundation of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party / Partiya Karkeren Kürdistan (PKK). This same section provided ample information on the events that transpired under the curfew, when the army launched operations against the ditches and barricades built in Kurdish cities. A separate sub-section focused on the operation in the district of Sur.
Then came information on the investigation process. It was indicated that Dolan and five other civilians were arrested by security forces on February 19, 2016 at about 16.00, on Yıkık Kaya Street.
The information and assessments about journalist Dolan began on page 47 of the indictment. This section provided information on the digital material found in body search as he was being evacuated from the district, as well as on his clothes -including their brands. It was indicated that no element of crime was found in the digital examination of the said material.
The indictment also offered the statements about Dolan of a secret witness code-named “Mudanya 2016”. However, these statements were contradictory, since the secret witness referred to Dolan as “the mother of this girl”, although Dolan is male.
There was no further assessment about Dolan in this part of the indictment. In the “legal assessment” section found on page 104, however, it was stated about Dolan and others that “in the framework of the so-called ‘autonomous administration’, they acted on the orders of the PKK / KCK terrorist organization within its hierarchy and through organic connection with it, aiding and assisting members in armed resistance; providing logistic support to members in armed resistance in the Sur district and the operation area, took part in the organizational hierarchy, and thus committed the crime of ‘membership of a terrorist organization’ as charged.”
The first hearing of the case was held on December 28, 2016. Dolan presented his defense on the first day of the trial. Dolan rejected the charges and said, “In the indictment, another person’s statement is written under my name. I’m a reporter with DİHA. My house is in Sûr. I went there as a journalist. I stayed at my aunt Fatma Ateş’s house. I was sending news stories to the agency that I work for. It was impossible to avoid traces of explosives in the basement where we were trapped. I plead not guilty of the charges. I demand to be released.”
The second hearing of the case was held on May 16, 2017. Dolan and his lawyer Resul Tamur were in attendance.
Following the defendants’ defenses, the statements of secret witnesses were read. The prosecutor in charge requested that Dolan and the other defendants remain in prison.
The court ordered Dolan and eight others to be released on condition of “judicial control”.
The court adjourned the trial until September 17, 2017.
Dolan went abroad some time after he was released. The trial against Dolan continues in his absence.
Mazlum Dolan Üyelik Davası (İddianame)
Various investigations were launched against Mehmet Ali Genç because of the news stories in the newspaper Atılım where he served as managing editor.
All investigations were carried out on charges of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”, citing the stories published in two issues of the newspaper in April and May 2016. Three separate indictments were drafted about Genç, and these were completed and submitted to the court on September 22, 2016.
The first indictment prepared by prosecutor Murat İnam consisted of a single page. It stated that the article titled “Making way for freedom” published in the issue of April 29, 2016 contained “propaganda for a terrorist organization”. However, the content of the article was not included in the indictment.
Prosecutor İnam also stated that the “defendant’s claim that the articles fell within the limits of the freedom of press and thought are not credible.”
The prosecutor demanded a prison sentence of 1 to 5 years for Genç for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” pursuant to Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2, as well as deprivation of certain rights as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 53.
The second indictment against Genç was drafted by prosecutor Murat İnam.Prepared on the same date as the first indictment (September 22, 2016), it also consisted of a single page. This second indictment was based on three separate news stories published on May 13, 2016. While the content of the stories was not included in the indictment, the headings were written down: “MLKP militia on patrol in Gazi district”, “Funeral for two TİKKD guerillas”, “HBDH claimed the bomb attack against the bakery shop whose owners killed Ali İsmail.”
Prosecutor İnam claimed that these stories were tantamount to “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” and requested that Genç be sentenced. The prosecutor demanded a prison sentence of 1 to 5 years for Genç for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” pursuant to Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2, and asked it to be increased by half since the crime was committed via the media. he also requested that Genç be deprivation of certain rights.
The third indictment against Genç was drafted at the end of the investigation against the Özgür Gençlik Dergisi magazine, since he was its managing editor as well. This indictment by Murat İnam consisted of two pages, and like the two other indictments, was completed on September 22, 2016 and submitted to the court.
The indictment based its accusations on ten separate articles in the March - April issue of the magazine: “In memory of two communist women”, “Your identity is ours”, “Portrait: Şengül Boran”, “Suhan’s early farewell”, “Women’s revolution”, “We shall multiply amidst the butterflies you adored so much”, “Rainbow after the rain: Ivana Hoffman”, “Kurdish women continue to resist”, “Colonialism will e trampled, oppressed peoples will prevail” and “From Cerattepe to Cizre, we continue to raise the resistance”.
Prosecutor İnam based himself on these articles and associated images to claim that these “spread propaganda for a terrorist organization” pursuant to Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2. He requested a sentence of 1 to 5 years in prison and deprivation of certain rights for Genç.
The three indictments prepared by prosecutor Murat İnam were accepted by Istanbul 22. High Criminal Court and a lawsuit was filed. The hearings were held on November 17, 2016 for the three. Fikret Demir (chairman of the panel of judges), Yusuf Kılıç and Barış Cömert (judges) and prosecutor Burhan Temtek took part in all three hearings. In his defense, Genç stated in summary that they did not engage in propaganda for any organization, and that the articles should be viewed within the scope of the freedom of press and expression.
Prosecutor Cömert demanded that Genç be punished as charged in his separate judicial opinions for the three cases.
As regards the first indictment, Genç was sentenced to one year in prison for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”. This was increased by half since the crime was committed through the press, to 1 year, 6 months. Then his sentence was reduced for good conduct to 1 year, 3 months.
Under the scope of the second indictment, he was sentenced to 1 year, 6 years of imprisonment. This was increased by half since the crime was committed through the press, to 1 year, 15 months. Then his sentence was reduced for good conduct to 1 year, 10 months, 15 days.
Under the scope of the third case, the court ruled for a prison sentence of 1 year, 3 months for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”.
Genç was sentenced to a total of 4 years, 4 months, 15 days in three separate cases on the same day.
The appeal process against the verdict was rejected and the prison sentence was upheld.
Genç is serving time at Adana F-Type High Security Closed Prison.
Mehmet Ali Genç - Propaganda Davası (İddianame)
Mehmet Ali Genç - Propaganda Davası (İddianame)
Mehmet Ali Genç - Propaganda Davası (İddianame)
Mehmet Güleş, the Elazığ correspondent of the shuttered news agency DİHA, was detained on December 6, 2016 during an identity check at Elazığ Courthouse, where he went for news coverage. A day later, he was referred to the court, was arrested for “membership of a terrorist organization”, and taken to Elazığ E-Type Closed Prison.
The indictment cited as evidence against Güleş 35 phone calls for journalistic purposes and television reporting, as well as 20 posts on his social media accounts. He was charged with “membership of a terrorist organization” and “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”.
The first hearing of the trial was held on April 3, 2017.
At the hearing dated May 3, 2017, Güleş was sentenced to 9 years, 4 months, 15 days of imprisonment for “membership of a terrorist organization” and “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”.
An appeal was filed against the verdict at the appeal court, and then at the Court of Cassation. On October 16, 2018, 16. Criminal Chamber of the Court of Cassation upheld the verdict about Güleş. Since then, Güleş is held in Elazığ Closed Prison No. 1 since December 7, 2016.
His individual application to the Constitutional Court has not yet been processed.
Mehmet Güleş Üyelik ve Propaganda Davası (İddianame)
Mehmet Güleş Üyelik ve Propaganda Davası (Gerekçeli Karar)